America’s student loan debt level has reached a crushing total of $1.16 trillion, according to a quarterly report on household debt and credit released this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
To put this $1.16 trillion figure in perspective, it is more than the annual gross domestic products of Denmark, Greece, Chile and Israel — combined.
With a collective annual GDP of about $1.14 billion (as tabulated by the International Monetary Fund), the entire economies of Denmark ($330.6 billion), Greece ($241.8 billion), Chile ($276.9 billion) and Israel ($290.6 billion) fail to produce enough in a whole year to pay off America’s student debt.
The enormity of the U.S. student loan mess is almost as big as the entire economy of Mexico (annual GDP: $1.26 trillion), and it dwarfs the economic output of Central America. The 43 million or so people in all seven countries in Central America would have to give everything they produce for about eight years to pay off America’s current student debt.
The accumulated student loan debt in the United States increased $77 billion over the course of 2014.
Also, to the horror of bankers everywhere, huge swathes of American student loan borrowers aren’t able to pay back their loans. A stunning 11.3 percent of all student loan repayment is at least 90 days delinquent as of the fourth quarter of 2014. That figure is up slightly from 11.1 percent in the third quarter.
Overall household debt in the United States was also up in the fourth quarter of 2014, the New York Fed notes. As of the last day of 2014, America’s total household indebtedness was $11.83 trillion. That figure (an increase of $117 billion from previous quarter) is greater than the combined annual GDPs of China and South Korea.
Over the summer, in the run-up to the Democrats’ 2014 electoral debacle, President Barack Obama threw a bone to the students and young people who voted for him in droves in 2008 and 2012 by way of an executive orders that limits the percentage of income student debtors must pay on student loans. (RELATED: Obama Throws A Bone To Americans Crushed With Student Loans)
A study released by the Pew Research Center in 2014 showed that college graduates who are under 40 years of age and who have accumulated student debt have a median net worth of just $8,700. (RELATED: Student Debt-Laden College Grads Under 40 Have $8,700 Median Net Worth)
How much is $8,700 these days? It’s not much. That amount of money will buy you a silver four-door 2003 Toyota Avalon XL with just fewer than 93,000 miles.
When all debts are accounted for, the median debt for college graduates under 40 is about $137,000 per student.